The Girls' Night
of the title refers to Friday night, the one time of escape from the daily grind for longstanding best friends and factory co-workers, Dawn and Jackie. And Friday night means bingo. One evening their dream comes true when Dawn (the cautious, caring one) scoops £100,000, but the savage twist in the tale is that even before she gets the cheque she discovers she has an inoperable brain tumour. Cue Jackie (the spontaneous, irresponsible one) fulfilling Dawn's lifetime ambition with a holiday in Las Vegas ("Come on, we've got an hour to get the plane"). And from then on it's a buddy movie with inescapable resonances of Thelma and Louise
, though the difference here is that the protagonists are two ordinary middle-aged women. Brenda Blethyn and Julie Walters are a magical pairing, with both giving mesmerising moving performances (honorary mention should also be made of Cody, the one sympathetic male character in the film, magnificently played by Kris Kristofferson). Though death is ever-present, this is by no means a depressing movie; rather the opposite, in fact, with a remarkably upbeat ending. If there's a message to be found here, it's that even the most apparently ordinary people can be extraordinary given the right circumstances.
On the DVD: As well as the original trailer, there is on-location feature
Dawn (Brenda Blethyn) and Jackie (Julie Walters) find their lives transformed when the former wins £100,000 on the bingo. At the same time, Dawn discovers that she has a terminal illness, but she decides to enjoy the time remaining to her and live life to the full. Leaving behind their drab jobs in a northern factory, Dawn and Jackie head off for the bright lights of Las Vegas.